by John A. Karr
published by Dark Continents
Why Read?: Review
Challenges: Paranormal fiction, 100 Books in a Year
In Ghostly Summons, John A. Karr puts a nice twist on the typical PI/Reporter type of mystery.
Lars Kelsen retired from the reporting business after the murder victims really began getting to him - literally. He always thought that the ghosts he saw were his overactive imagine, especially since they left after his life fell apart and he quit the business. Now five years later, he is living on Cape Hattaras, working part-time at the hospital. When a body shows up in a swamp and Lars starts seeing the dead women, he knows the ghosts he has run from are back. Agreeing to writing a story about her as a favor to a co-worker's husband, he quickly gets pulled into the mystery of her death, and soon his life is on the life. If he is to live, he needs to figure out what the dead woman is trying to tell him, a quite difficult task as he does not believe in the supernatural.
Karr's concept really adds to what would otherwise be a typical mystery. Lars definitely comes to life on the page, but sometimes, just a tad too much. There are passages where it seems Karr is just trying too hard to make Lars realistic, taking him into the realm of more annoying than likeable. For instance, yes, there are many people Lars's age who would use the word "dude", just not to the extent that it becomes a non-sense word in the reader's head in just the span of a few pages. However, when Lars is not being annoying, he is a really good protagonist. And he tries hard, but Karr still hits him - and the reader - with a killer out of nowhere.
Aside from a sometimes annoying protagonist, Ghostly Summons is an enjoyable read, especially for the summer. John A. Karr really keeps the pages turning, and the paranormal aspect totally kept my interst. I hope to see more of Lars Kelsen.